“Of all the things that my parents have ever given me in my entire lifetime … those four years at GFA were, by far, the best gift I’ve been given and the greatest privilege I’ve ever received.”
We sat down with Judge Max L. Rosenberg from Probate Court jurisdiction 47 and alumni of the Greens Farms Academy Class of 1997. Rosenberg currently serves as a Judge by morning, a managing partner of a law firm by afternoon, and a devoted father and husband by night.
He is a second-generation Greens Farms Academy alumnus, as his mother, a distinguished alumna of The Kathleen Laycock Country Day School, graduated in 1968.
During his four-year tenure at GFA, Rosenberg immersed himself in anything and everything. “If you look at the yearbook, I’m in almost every single picture!” said Rosenberg.
One year prior to his arrival on campus, a diversity club called Colors came to fruition. Coming from an orthodox Jewish background, he flocked to this club where people of all different upbringings and religious affiliations could talk about current events and share perspective. In his four years at GFA, he assisted the club in growing from just five to over 40 members.
“I’ve always had a sense of multiculturalism, starting with Colors at Greens Farms Academy. I took an interest in religion and theology early on, because if we can understand each other better, we can understand why certain decisions are being made. The more we try to understand each other, the more we can communicate.”
Other than Colors, Rosenberg was a member of the chess club, Greener Side, the cross-country team and grew his passion for theatre. He starred in several productions and sang in GFA’s Beachside Express a cappella group. He later pursued a cappella in college, creating the first group at Fordham and extremely popular group, Nonsequitur, at Columbia University.
From playing frisbee on the front lawn, to reading Wuthering Heights in the fall in the history-filled classrooms, Rosenberg has an incredible gratitude for his GFA experience. He ultimately credits the GFA faculty to be the most memorable part of his school experience. “My favorite part of GFA has to be how impressive the faculty is in their interest in shaping and helping the lives of the students. The teachers I had at GFA — they took care of me and they made sure that I am who I am today.”
Rosenberg talked fondly of many of his teachers, one of which includes History Department Chair Ian Campbell.
“Max had a larger than life presence and personality. He was a mainstay in our theater program. He brought the same energy to class. He possesses a great sense of humor and brought to class each day a smile, a joke, and a willingness to work hard. A teacher can't really hope for more,” said Mr. Campbell.
Post-commencement, Rosenberg went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, which he attended with the intentions of being a theatrical actor. He worked in a number of theatres, on several commercials, and in film. While a full-time student, he took several jobs — including private investigations work for law firms, teaching for the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and at the national publication house of Women of Reform Judaism.
He continued his education at Columbia University, getting his master’s degree in theology and sociology, while simultaneously earning his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. But he did not stop there. “The day I was graduating from Union, I was already taking my first class at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in Manhattan,” said Rosenberg.
“The one piece of advice I would give to current students would be to take as many jobs as you can. All the real-world experience, that is your true training.”
Rosenberg lived up to that sentiment himself as he took every “odd” job that came his way. He currently holds a certification in mediation from South East European University in Budapest, studied arbitration from the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, France, is currently barred in New York and Connecticut, is certified to teach fair housing classes for real estate, and is a member of the National College of Probate Judges.
“I’ve done a lot of crazy things, and I’ve never had a job that I love so much,” said Rosenberg. Currently, he is serving his first term as Judge of Probate in Stratford, CT and handles a wide variety of cases daily — from family adoptions to bankruptcy to consumer law. He credits his sense of interest in people’s lives and a willingness to be able to, and want to, help them as his most important attribute.
After an incredible post-GFA journey, Rosenberg offers one piece of advice to current students. “Network! Talk to everybody — there is no one there that you cannot learn from. There are so many walks of life at Greens Farms Academy that can both alter your perspective and offer you perspective. ”
Judge Rosenberg spends his free time giving back to the community through his charitable work with Shriners Hospitals for Children. When he is not working, he loves to travel and take road trips, spend time by the water and teach his kids something new — sometimes out of his old GFA philosophy textbooks! He currently resides in Stratford, CT with his wife, two sons Zohar (13) and Asher (11), his two dogs and his 21 chickens.